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Image: Financial Times: Obama Losing 'Foreign Fan Club'

Financial Times: Obama Losing 'Foreign Fan Club'

By Lisa Barron   |   Tuesday, 02 Jul 2013 09:43 AM

President Barack Obama's foreign fan club is finally realizing he is not the liberal hero they thought he was, The Financial Times said in a scathing article on Tuesday. If he were a white Republican rather than a black Democrat the same people would be "bitterly denouncing him."

"As Hakan Altinay, a Turkish academic, complained to me last week: "Obama talks like the president of the American Civil Liberties Union, but he acts like Dick Cheney," chief foreign affairs commentator Gideon Rachman wrote.

"To adapt Mr Altinay's complaint: When it comes to foreign policy, Mr. Obama campaigned with the human rights rhetoric of Jimmy Carter but has governed like Henry Kissinger," he added.

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It is not just the revelation of the extent of the National Security Agency spying that has caused liberals to think again, but other White House acts over the past five years.

"More important would be the broken promise to close the Guantanamo detention center and — above all — the massive expansion of the use of drone strikes to kill suspected terrorists in Pakistan, Yemen, and elsewhere," he said.

"It has gradually dawned on President Obama's foreign fan club that their erstwhile hero is using methods that would be bitterly denounced if he were a white Republican."

Yet Rachman argued that the president's critics should consider the fact that "some of the decisions that Mr. Obama has made that liberals hate are partly a result of some other decisions that they liked."

"Foreigners have largely applauded the Obama administration's decision to wind down the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. But if you are not going to go after your enemies on the ground, you may need other methods."

He continued, "Similarly, Mr. Obama has rightly received some credit for his decision to end torture of terrorist suspects … but the need to gather information on terror threats remains — and the massive expansion of electronic monitoring is partly a response to that."

As for evidence that the NSA bugged the European Union's Washington office, Rachman said, "Is it really so surprising that allies sometimes eavesdrop on each other?"

Rachman also said the "current backlash against Mr. Obama is reminiscent of a similar process of disillusionment undergone by American liberals in recent years, pointing to a New York Times column by Maureen Dowd comparing Obama unfavorably to the tough leader portrayed by Michael Douglas in the movie "American President."

"It is perfectly legitimate to argue that Mr. Obama should have done more to cut back the rapidly growing secret state that he inherited when he took office. The combination of a 'war on terror' and the new world of 'big data' has created some possibilities and pressures — and Mr. Obama may have made some wrong calls in response," Rachman wrote. "Yet the U.S. president has had to balance a variety of pressures — including the continuing existence of a terrorist threat and the entrenched power of the intelligence world."

"Mr. Obama was living in a real universe," he concluded, adding, "It was his overheated critics who lived in a fantasy world."

Editor's Note: ObamaCare Is About to Strike. Are You Prepared?

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